Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: ethics



The ethical are baying at my back.
I guess I just transgressed another rule.
Abundant rules these characters don’t lack.
The ethical are baying at my back—
But should I flee the noise? Or the attack
It promises? Hey, cowardice ain’t cool!
The ethical are baying at my back:
I guess I just transgressed another rule.

–Tom Riley

100 Bucks

100 Bucks



(for Cynthia Sprowell)



You found a hundred dollars – and you failed

To search a hundred miles to find the loser

Who’d lost it?  Pastor Vicious would have wailed

Aloud to hear the news, been your accuser,

And cast you out!  But Tommy is a user

Of reason in the moral universe:

That cash was lost by some poor drug abuser

Who labored under vile compulsion’s curse.

I also sense – and this is even worse—

That the poor soul was on the very brink

Of self-destruction.  Cynthia, immerse

Your heart in truth – and think the way I think!

You kept the money that you found.  I know

You bravely saved a life by doing so!





–Tom Riley

What’s Right

What’s Right


What’s right is right — and that’s what gets him pissed

About the iron world of right and wrong.

Inflexibility’s what he’d resist

If what was right were not so sure and strong.

He hates the way it hurries right along

And yet seems, in its way, to stand stone still.

He hates the clear notes of its endless song.

Its underlying silence makes him ill.

The spittle that it never has to spill

Spells horror in the tunnels of his ears.

Of what is right he’s clearly had his fill.

It’s the foundation of his gnawing fears.

Yet he can’t help but keep what’s right in sight.

Oh, how it twists his nerves!  It isn’t right!


–Tom Riley